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In hiking boots through the quiet realm of snow

Mountains, meadows and forests present themselves in a white robe, the snow crunches quietly under your winter boots and your breath forms little clouds: hiking in the cold season is pure pleasure, especially for those with a romantic disposition.

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In hiking boots through the quiet realm of snow

Mountains, meadows and forests present themselves in a white robe, the snow crunches quietly under your winter boots and your breath forms little clouds: hiking in the cold season is pure pleasure, especially for those with a romantic disposition. In the past Corona years, more and more people have discovered the pleasure of walking without exaggerated demands for performance.

The winter sports resorts have long since reacted to this and are clearing the most beautiful hiking trails for their guests: This means that the winter landscape can be comfortably enjoyed even without snowshoes. Here are six regions where fans of winter hiking will get their money's worth.

From December to the end of March, skiers are lured by the slopes in the Latemar ski center in Obereggen and the Carezza Dolomites at the foot of the Rosengarten. In the meantime, hikers can enjoy the famous mountain panorama of the Unesco natural heritage on a total of 150 kilometers of cleared paths in the Eggental near Bozen. So there is no shortage of variety.

The offer includes a leisurely hike of almost five kilometers on the panorama trail around the village of Welschnofen, as well as a 7.5-kilometer, moderately difficult tour on the "Sissi Promenade". Its destination is the Elisabeth Monument in honor of the Austrian Empress, who stayed here in 1897, a year before her death.

Perennial nature lovers should plan the “Hut Hike” as a day tour, which is easy in character but not exactly short at a distance of 20 kilometres. In between, there are several places to stop to recharge your batteries, such as the Ochsenhütte, the Tscheiner Hütte at 1774 meters or the Frommeralm (1721 meters).

Tip: Mountain and hiking guides accompany guests on guided tours - for example on the scenic "Panorama Tour 360 Degrees" or "On the Trail of Hares and Deer" - through the snow.

The region on the northern edge of the Upper Bavarian Alps is a hiker's paradise in both summer and winter. In the cold season, 120 kilometers of marked hiking trails lead through the 227-hectare Ammergau Alps Nature Park, which stretches between Bad Bayersoien in the north and Ettal in the south.

This winter, hikers who want to get to know the region in all its facets but have little time will have the best variants pre-sorted: in the form of the "Go 7 winter hiking trails". The idea behind it: In every town in the region - i.e. Bad Bayersoien, Bad Kohlgrub, Oberammergau, Unterammergau, Saulgrub and Ettal - there is a promising tour to choose from.

For example the Ettaler Enzian-Weg, the Oberammergauer-Weidmoos-Tour or the winter hike from Bad Bayersoien to Geizenmoos. As a bonus track for everyone who wants more, the winter version of the Ammergau Alps meditation trail, which has been shortened to 76 kilometers, invites you to contemplate - the section over the Hörnle is omitted in winter. All paths around the towns have been cleared and run on flat to hilly terrain.

In Oberstdorf, the southernmost point in the Allgäu and "gateway to the Kleinwalsertal", winter hiking has a long tradition. The region around the climatic and Kneipp health resort offers a network of more than 140 kilometers of secured and prepared winter hiking trails. When there is fresh snow, five clearing vehicles are used at night to prepare the paths in the best possible way.

The valley paths into snow-reliable side valleys and quiet villages are comfortable. At medium altitudes, the routes lead through snow-covered forests and over sunny meadow slopes. A special experience are the alpine winter hiking trails, which can be reached with the Oberstdorf Kleinwalsertal mountain railways.

In the Heuberg area, the well-developed panorama trail with great views is just as suitable for families with children as it is for seniors. It goes high on the Ifen, the circular route over the Gottesacker is at an altitude of 2000 meters and is therefore the highest winter hiking trail in the Kleinwalsertal that can be reached by train.

The circular route can be either three or five kilometers long, if you choose the longer version, you will cross the invisible border between Germany and Austria on the way.

A few kilometers away from Lake Constance, the Bregenzerwald and its 23 villages are a true winter hiking paradise. Around 310 kilometers of hiking trails in the region will be cleared of snow. All trails are marked with pink signs and are suitable for hikes and walks of between one and four hours.

The tours range from the sunny Sulzberg up to the 2000 meter high Diedamskopf and into the Hochtannberg area near Warth-Schröcken. A tip for a varied tour is the 15.5-kilometer trail through the wild and romantic Subersach Gorge from Sibratsgfäll to Schönenbach and back. On the way, various restaurants lure you to stop.

Eating and hiking can be excellently combined with the "Culinary Winter Hiking" offer: These tours start with a regional breakfast, lunch is taken in various mountain inns and restaurants along the way, and dessert awaits at the end of the hike.

If you take it easy and take your time eating, you can plan around six hours for it. The walking time for the four tours is about three hours each. Depending on the route, costs 49 to 69 euros.

Rugged peaks covered in white sugar, broad white mountain slopes, endless snowfields and frozen lakes make up the scenic charm of the Tannheimer Tal in winter. In addition to six small ski areas, gentle sports such as winter hiking in the Tyrolean region, which the residents confidently describe as the most beautiful high valley in Europe, are particularly attractive.

81 kilometers of cleared winter hiking trails, spread over 16 hiking routes prepared daily - 13 in the valley and three on the mountain - offer guests enough opportunities to get their own picture of the wonderful views of the snow-covered Tyrolean and Allgäu mountains.

You can choose between relaxed walks in the valley, for example from Tannheim to the picturesque Vilsalpsee, as well as panoramic routes on the mountain. The "Winter hiking on the Höh" tour offers particularly intensive impressions of the landscape - from the Neunerköpfle mountain station up to the summit. There the largest summit book in the Alps (two pages in the format 3 x 2.3 meters) awaits the entry of the hiking summiteers.

The cross-country paradise around Seefeld and Leutasch is also a small paradise for leisurely winter hikers. This is ensured by an extensive network of 142 kilometers of cleared and signposted winter hiking trails to the most beautiful viewpoints in the high valley - including numerous cozy restaurants, inns and rustic huts.

One tip, for example, is the meadow path through the Leutasch Valley, past old farms and white meadows. The moderately difficult hike to the Kaiserstand at 1,400 meters offers breathtaking views. At the top, at the end of the lonely path through the glittering winter landscape, there is a cozy rest bench - good luck to anyone who thought of packing a thermos of hot tea in their backpack.

If the hut atmosphere is particularly important to you when hiking, you can enjoy it three times on the eleven-kilometer circular hiking trail to the Bruschkopf - in the Wildmoosalm, the Lottenseehütte and in the Möserer Seestub'n.

The first long-distance winter hiking trail in Tyrol promises a special adventure. The tour leads from Leutasch in four days 54 kilometers (stages between 9.5 and 16 kilometers) on cleared paths through the mountains. A highlight is the overnight stay in the 1717 meter high Wettersteinhütte. The tour (with luggage transport) is offered from the beginning of January to mid-March (from 495 euros including half board). If you feel like it, you have to be patient: All tours are already fully booked for this winter.

You don't need a lot of equipment for winter hiking, but it should be consistent. So hiking boots should be on your feet, ankle-high and with a profiled sole. It pays to take spikes with you on icy days. They prevent you from slipping or slipping on icy sections, are easy to stow away in your backpack and easy to assemble if necessary. It is always good to have hiking sticks with you.

The clothing is adapted to the weather, hat and gloves belong at least in the backpack. Snow goggles, sunglasses and sunscreen are advisable. A change of clothes is just as useful as a first aid kit and a few snacks such as fruit or granola bars. Winter hikers should definitely have something to drink with them.

And especially on longer tours in the mountains, you should always inquire about the weather forecast before you start!

Eggental / Dolomites: Eggental Tourismus, Dolomitenstr. 4, I-39056 Nova Levante, Tel. 0039/0471/619500, www.eggental.com

Ammergauer Alpen: Ammergauer Alpen GmbH, Eugen-Papst-Str. 9a, 82487 Oberammergau, Tel. 08822/922740, www.ammergauer-alpen.de

Oberstdorf / Kleinwalsertal: Tourismus Oberstdorf, Prinzregenten-Platz 1, 87561 Oberstdorf, Tel. 08322/7000, www.oberstdorf.de

Bregenzerwald: Bregenzerwald Tourismus, Gerbe 1135, 6863 Egg / Vorarlberg Austria, Tel. 0043/5512/2365, www.bregenzerwald.at

Tannheimer Tal: Tourist office Tannheimer Tal, Vilsalpseestr. 1, 6675 Tannheim, Austria, Tel. 0043/5675/6220-0, www.tannheimertal.com

Seefeld / Leutasch: Seefeld Tourist Office, Bahnhofplatz 115, 6100 Seefeld, Austria, Tel. 0043/50880; Leutasch Information Office, Kirchplatzl 128a, 6105 Leutasch, Tel. 0043/50880510, www.seefeld.com

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